The British Are Coming: Countdown to Downton

Hit PBS Masterpiece series "Downton Abbey" returns for third season.
5:26 | 01/04/13

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Transcript for The British Are Coming: Countdown to Downton
It is exciting for me as a superfan to be here. I feel the pressure to ask the right questions. Let's introduce the characters. Hugh bonneville plays robert, the earl of grantham. elizabeth McGovern plays his wife. Jim carter plays their butler. Joanne plays anna. And rob james-come jer, plays thomas barrow, the evil one. And plays daisy, the cook assistant, who you've watched grow up on the show. This has become a complete phenomenon. The most masterpiece series watched on record. Did you have any idea when you were first shooting season one, that you had a hit on your hands? My first day I had on set was at the castle. We drove into the grounds. It's this amazing building in front of me. I kind of thought, I think this is going to be really good. Yeah. It had dame maggie acatttached to it. And julian fellowes was directing it. Maybe had a chance. Season three is shown on some places on the globe. But not in america yet. Is season three as exciting as the first two? It's fabulous. And the response in england has been tremendous. Hyster hysterical. We don't do hysteria here. We're slighted by that. Let's get into the nitty-gritty and the story. Hugh, you play robert, the earl of the estate. Without giving anything away. But this season three is supposed to be the toughest one yet, maybe for you and maybe the character of the house. Definitely. The season opens with the discovery that robert discovers that a financial investment he made with my darling wife's money, has gone catastrophically wrong. Are you really telling me that all the money is gone? It makes the bernie madoff thing like a walk in the park. Downton is up for sale. That kicks the whole season off. No. Now, I want to see the whole thing. Let's get to maggie smith, who is such an incredible character for the family. Do you all have favorite lines of her. The famous one. That's a hard one. In the day. And of course, I'll have the weekend. What is the weekend? shirley MacLaine plays your mother. And robert can't seem to stand up to his mother. I mean, she seems to kind of run the roost sometimes. But do you -- what's your relationship? What relationship will we see? I think that I'm very protective of my mother. I know she's coming into this And I know how they operate. When you see shirley as she enters the house, you see that she is a different kettle of fish. Oh, dear. I'm afraid the war has made old women of us both. Oh, I wouldn't say that. Then, I always keep out of the sun. Someone here had a crush on shirley MacLaine? Is that true? All of us did. But mainly me. I love shirley. Oh, my gosh. She was my babe, yeah. She was great. She's a scallywag. Joanne, anna is the stand by your man woman. She is. There's times you're watching the show and you want to yell through the screen and tell you not to be such a good rson. But in this series, do you ever question whether or not the man that you love could be capable of killing someone? She never -- I think that's what's so sweet about anna and bates. They have a complete faith in each other. And she never questions her faith in him. Sophie, with daisy, what's ahead for you this year? Well, daisy's changed a lot. She's all grown up. And she turns a bit nasty. What? In season three. Only a bit. She gives thomas a run for his money. She struck him out of the kitchen. Storming out of rooms. And leave us with one of your favorite moments so far of season three. One of your favorite moments? There's a moment when shirley, at her own request, sings a song. It wasn't in the script. It was her idea. She sings a song and slowly turns around to look at maggie. And maggie is feigning sleep. And the look of horror on maggie's face when she realizes that this american woman is singing at her is fabulous. You are our favorite upstairs family and downstairs family in america. And we cannot wait to see season three.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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